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Openreach Hints at SOGEA UK Standalone FTTC Broadband Prices

Saturday, May 19th, 2018 (7:17 am) - Score 14,581

Openreach has published a short notice to give a very rough indication of how much their new ‘Single Order Generic Ethernet Access’ product might cost ISPs at wholesale. At launch in 2019 the service will enable consumers to buy a standalone FTTC “fibre broadband” (VDSL2 or G.fast) line without the voice (phone) service.

Previously consumers had to buy their phone service alongside line rental (included by default) and then FTTC broadband was optionally added on top. Today few people use their landline for making calls and thus SOGEA reverses the aforementioned approach, making it possible to buy a copper line just for broadband. Consumers will still be able to add a voice feature if they want, albeit more as an optional VoIP add-on.

This is a radical shift for the operator and ISPs, which has required a lot of internal changes to be made. In the past some have made the mistake of assuming that this would make such broadband-only connections much cheaper vs broadband + phone bundles, but in reality you still need the copper line rental for broadband and only a tiny amount of the delivery cost sits with the voice (phone) service that goes over the top.

As it stands we’re still waiting for some solid SOGEA / SOGFAST pricing details but today Openreach has at least confirmed their indicative approach to wholesale pricing, which as expected is essentially just a merge of the existing copper line rental costs with the broadband side (not much change for consumers). The operator uses fully unbundled (LLU MPF) line pricing below as their basis.

Openreach Statement

As SOGEA is a new product without a mature cost stack, we will use MPF + FTTC as the starting point for Pilot Phase pricing. This is consistent with discussion in the recent Wholesale Local Access final statement. The pricing guidance below is intended to give our CPs an indication of our SOGEA Pilot phase pricing plans at this point in time. Given this is a new product currently in trial, we will provide more formal pricing details closer to Pilot as we are still informing our view of costs.

The SOGEA Pilot Phase pricing principles are expected to be as follows:

• SOGEA rental pricing will be the sum of MPF rental pricing + FTTC rental pricing of the relevant tier

• SOGEA connection pricing of a premise currently served by an Openreach line will be aligned to MPF connection products re-using existing Left-In-Jumpers (currently priced at £11.24) + FTTC connection pricing

• Guidance on SOGEA connection pricing of an unserved premise (i.e. a “new provide”) will be provided at a later date

A formal pricing notification for the Pilot Phase pricing with associated changes to the Openreach Price List will be notified in due course and at least a minimum of 28-days’ notice before Pilot start date.

All of this will of course support Openreach’s gradual move to phase out the old analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and replace it with new digital, internet based (all IP) services by 2025, which is something that is being separately consulted upon (here).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. NE555 says:

    Nice. The provider is being charged for the copper all the way back to the exchange (MPF), but the service only uses the copper from the premises to the cabinet.

    1. Steve Jones says:

      Most of the cost is in the passive infrastructure, maintenance and so on. By far the greatest length of passive infrastructure is in the “final mile” part after the PCP when the network fans out.

      The actual copper bit is a very small proportion and as it can’t be readily recovered until such time as MPF is withdrawn as an obligation by Ofcom (and it’s all implemented) those costs remain, and getting rid of that and the relevant part of the passive infrastructure will take decades.

      Whilst Ofcom insist on regulating wholesale costs, then they are obliged to take all these things into account.

    2. MikeW says:

      The E-side copper is still being used. Just for testing purposes only.

  2. domb says:

    So basically hardly any cheaper on wholesale cost than the line rental part of WLR. Pricing which already allows the likes of AAISP to provide a pair for xDSL for £10 a month inc VAT… What actually is the point of this product?

    1. occasionally factual says:

      To stop people complaining that they don’t need a phone line, just broadband.
      And soon they will be able to.
      But I don’t think most of the people realise that it would still cost to get the physical hardware so that they can get broadband to the property.

  3. dave says:

    I wonder if this will speed up the time of switching isp. Or reduce labour costs of having to go to the cabinet to make changes when you transfer your phone number from 1 isp to another possibly?

  4. Steve says:

    What a nightmare that could end up being as an engineer trying to fault a line with no identifying dialtone .

    1. Alan says:

      I would like to think or at the least hope engineers have been educated on how to do that considering SOGEA has been in the planning since 2015 and trials since 2016.

    2. TheFacts says:

      There will be battery though?

  5. Steve says:

    You would be out of luck then , i have been an engineer for 35 yrs , i know of no trial for this in my area .

    1. Phil Smith says:

      All well and good training the OR engr to identify SOGEA circuit. Our contractor friends will be rubbing their hands together at the amount of “spares” they find!

    2. Alan says:

      Are you an Openreach engineer or a contractor? If you are an Openreach engineer, at what level?

      Obviously training for those that will be doing installations of a new product would have taken place, not even Openreach are going to sent people out without them having a clue what they are doing.

      Trials have been going on since 2016, just because their are none in the area you live has nothing to do with the matter. As an engineer i would had thought you knew this.

  6. Anthony Gray says:

    In regards to internet as we all know that fibre optic for such as ntl the signal comes along red fibre but what if it was blue as in blue ray just think how much faster and signal quality it would be

    1. Adam Armstrong says:

      The blue laser is better for optical storage because it has a shorter wavelength thus making higher density data storage possible.

      This effect doesn’t have an impact on optical data transmission. Indeed, you gain more from technologies like WDM than you would by switching to “blue light”.

      The fiber and lasers aren’t really a bottleneck on FTTC technologies like DOCSIS cable, the actual copper cable that goes into the property is.

    2. 125us says:

      Telecoms fibre isn’t in the visible spectrum Adam. It’s often shown that way in adverts, but in reality it can’t be seen by the human eye. The only requirement for it to work is that the wavelength allows for total internal refraction (TIR). Red light is used in domestic kit like home cinema amps because it makes fault finding easier and reduces the risk of eye damage.

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